[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]


[Newspaper:] Donya

[Date:] 14 Farvardin 1338 [4 April 1959]

[Issue No.:] 5329


The Arrest of 60 Iranian Baha’i Residents in Turkey and the Order for Their Release by the Turkish Government

According to the information obtained by our correspondent, Dr. Eshragh Sinaie, an Iranian Baha’i living in Turkey, was among the Iranian Baha’is who left Iran three years ago and traveled to Turkey. He treated Turkish patients in one of Ankara’s hospitals. Dr. Eshragh Sinaie’s purpose for this trip was promoting the Baha’i Faith amongst the Turks. He achieved some success in this way, until on the night of 5 Farvardin [26 March 1959], according to the order issued by Haifa, they decided to turn the Baha’i assembly of Turkey, as in Iran, into a (National) Spiritual Assembly.

In Turkey, the formation of any private or public association [gathering] requires the prior permission of the police department; the Iranian Baha’is of Turkey, who had their meeting in the City of Ankara, had not received permission from the Ankara police. The Turkish police, who are controlling the situation day and night, found out about the incident one hour after the formation of the gathering and entered the house, without any [warning], in the presence of the Ankara prosecutor’s representative, and arrested all the occupants of the house―60 Iranians and two American Baha’is.

The Americans were imprisoned for only three hours because their identification led to their immediate release. But the Iranians were imprisoned for two days and nights, and after the Ankara police made sure that the Iranian Baha’is had not formed a political and communist association, they also released them. After their release, the Iranian Baha’is went to the Ankara Police Department, [where they] received a special permit, and they are now organizing a Turkish National Spiritual Assembly.

According to the Iranian embassy in Ankara, [when it attempted] to find out the reason for the arrest of the Iranians living in Ankara, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed General Arfa, the Iranian ambassador, that since the 60 Iranians were not communists and had no political intentions they were released.

You should know that, there are not many Baha’is in Turkey, although in the last one or two years there has been a lot of Iranian Baha’i activity to propagate the faith to the inhabitants of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Religions are almost free in Turkey, and it is strange that although the majority of Turks are Muslims, the Turkish government is not an Islamic state.